Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
First things first, it is essential to point that nowadays, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious, diagnosable medical problem and a recognized psychological condition. After the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, Fire Department of New York Bureau of Health Services has reported significant increase of the cases of PTSD among the firefighters occupying different ranks. At this point, it essential to point out that what PTSD even more serious, the evidence shows, is comorbid depression as another aftermath of trauma. Assuming that the foregoing statement is correct, the link between PTSD and depression indicates a string of important clinical implications.
PTSD is typically categorized as an anxiety disorder. PTSD, as a rule, is an aftermath of some traumatic events and/or experiences, including but not limited to natural disasters, domestic violence, and severe injury. No unambiguous approach among the scientists exists as for answering the question how to foresee and estimate the possible effects of PTSD on societies and individuals. At this point, it is essential to take a small detour to specify the following aspect. Typically, personalized questionnaires are being used to assess the patient allegedly exhibiting the symptoms of PTSD. Thorough research of fear conditioning and extinction is essential for better understanding of the genetics of PTSD. Better understanding of the genetics of PTSD is a key to elaborating the scientific mechanisms of measuring and assessing PTSD prevalence of individuals after trauma. Even more importantly, that kind of research may help to develop effective medication for individuals with propensity for PTSD. Understanding the physiology of circuits that mediate fear responses, on the other hand, may potentially push forward the research designed specifically to find the effective prevention and therapy methods of treating PTSD. At this point, it is essential to point out that under the circumstances of the cases of traumatizing among veterans and civilians becoming more frequent coupled with “understanding of the prevalence, comorbidity, and sequelae of PTSD”, developing better therapy and prevention mechanisms is becoming more and more crucial. In other words, since PTSD is dangerous mainly because of the complications associated with, it is crucial to elaborate more effective methods of prevention and treatment of PTSD.
Elevated depression is, probably, one of the complications of PTSD that occurs most frequently. No small amount of researches support the premise that high levels of comorbid depression and PTSD occur more frequently in trauma-exposed populations. On the other hand, PTSD and depression may be non-related and thus, should be assessed as different forms of response to traumatic events. Past studies have reported of some kind of inexplicable connection between PTSD and alcohol abuse. A group of scientists led by Sydney Chiu, on the other hand, have found and presented the data supporting the statement that “suggest that alcohol abuse may result from mediation through depression”. The scholars’ findings are based mainly on the testimonies of those who witnessed the catastrophe of September 11th and/or started to arrive on site in in the next hours and days after the attack on the WTC towers. Specifically, the research group led by Chiu checked whether or not there is a connection between the firefighters’ arrival time at WTC and the state of elevated depression and PTSD risk at the same time. Upon through investigation, the researchers arrived at conclusion that association between the time of arrival on site, elevated depression, and PTSD may all “derive from mediation through PTSD”. Having taken the data presented above into account, the scholars have inferred that one has to be aware of the risk factors for PTSD and elevated depression (such as, for example, physical injury) in order to ensure earlier detection and prompt opportunities for intervention. Thus, providing proper care and treatment are made possible.
Comorbid elevated depression in PTSD, as a rule, is negatively associated with lower health satisfaction, delayed response to intervention, greater psychiatric impairment, greater risk for somatization symptoms, and, more importantly, greater likelihood of hospital discharge against medical advice. It goes without saying that PTSD and comorbid depression are dangerous mostly due to the clinical complications that accompany them. Medical specialists, therefore, have to work together to design, promote, and monitor agreed-on methods of therapy. No small amount of clinicians do not approve of using medication in treating PTSD, unless the condition itself is not aggravated by depression.
Early detection is considered to be one of the most effective methods of PTSD prevention. The methods of treating PTSD, on the other hand, are a more controversial and challenging question as to these days, there is no agreed-on unanimous answer to it. Perhaps, it goes without saying that PTSD occurs most frequently among people affiliated with military and emergency services. In this respect, the fact that it is crucial that the people whose occupation is related to the areas mentioned above kept fit seems self-evident. In one of the most recent studies, the scholars have estimated that the approximate amount of 90% of the population-based military cohort (including all branches of service and Reserve / Guard members) participate in physical activity on weekly basis. Apart from that, the research has postulated that smoking and alcohol and addictive substances abuse are the factors increasing the risk of developing PTSD. Physical activity, on the other hand, has been positively associated with the decreased odds of PTSD symptoms. The question of whether or not physical exercises may potentially help to mitigate the symptoms of PTSD remains open to these days. With regard to this, a group of researchers led by LearMann make an assertion that “randomized trials may aid in understanding whether physical activity is effective for the treatment and/or prevention of PTSD”. Developing their statement further, the scientists claim that randomized trials can be used to offer better guidance to veterans and military service members. All in all, what LeardMann team’s research represents is that it is possible to treat PTSD without medications.
Taking all the facts mentioned in this paper into consideration, it is possible to arrive at the conclusions as follows. Posttraumatic stress disorder is a form of anxiety. Therefore, it is a recognized mental disorder and a serious medical problem. PTSD, as a rule, is a consequence of some kind of traumatic experience. To deal with the conditions of that kind effectively, it is essential to take the character of the traumatic events itself into account. PTSD may be accompanied with depression, which makes the case of a disease even more complicated. Understanding the physiology of fear may be the key to understanding the physiology of PTSD. Mostly, medical specialists do not approve of using medications to treat PTSD, unless it is aggravated by depression. Physical exercises and favorable social and emotional environment have proved their effectiveness in PTSD prevention and mitigating the symptoms of the disease.